Persistent pain (pain lasting more than 3-6 months) can have a profound impact on all aspects of life. Medical treatments sometimes offer only limited improvement, so people may try other things like manual therapy, which can often give temporary relief but not a permanent ‘fix’.
There is a strong body of evidence to show that the causes of, and contributing factors to persistent pain are multifactorial and therefore need a multidisciplinary approach like a hospital pain management programme. Often there are large waiting lists for these courses and they mainly involve group-based work.
For those who would like one-to-one support from a single practitioner we are offering a 6-session course, which aims to integrate osteopathy with additional evidence-based approaches to persistent pain management including mindfulness, mindful movement, pain education, graded exposure and Acceptance and Commitment-based approaches.
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment that works on the principle that health depends on maintaining a state of balance between the body’s structures and functions. Osteopaths use manual therapy (like massage and joint mobilisations) with exercise prescription and lifestyle advice to reduce symptoms, get people moving and stop symptoms re-occurring.
The aim of this course is to help people adapt and respond to pain in more gentle, flexible and effective ways based on awareness of their body, movements and actions. The course has been designed for people in persistent pain who are ready and willing to take a more active role in their treatment process and explore the different possibilities for managing and overcoming pain.
If would like to learn more about the course or find out if you might be suitable for it then book a free 15 minute consultation with Kate Nunn, osteopath at the Perrymount Clinic. Kate’s special interest in this field and personal experience of persistent pain and how she managed to overcome it makes her an ideal practitioner to help people living with long-term pain. Call 01444 410944 to book your appointment.
I am very fortunate to have found an excellent osteopath (Kate Nunn) at The Perrymount Clinic. Easy parking, friendly people, delightful setting all combine to make treatments and workshops an enjoyable experience. Mrs S, Haywards Heath
I suffered back pain and spasms for over four years and have had treatments with varying levels of success.
Kate has been the only osteopath who has actually listened to me describe my symptoms fully, and following treatment sessions with her I am pain free for the first time in four years. She's amazing. Ms MH, Haywards Heath, 2019
I had been living with patellar tendinopathy for three years before I started seeing Kate Nunn. I was not feeling optimistic: I’d spent nine months in 2017/18 working with a physio, which had not helped, and the condition had not just stopped me running, it was by this point making it increasingly difficult in daily activities such as using stairs.
Kate had previously worked with me to help me overcome an episode of lower back pain, which is why I had complete confidence in her approach. I think the key difference was Kate’s approach to pain. Whereas my previous physio had tried to find exercises that would avoid the trigger points for pain and instability in both knees, Kate’s approach was not to let soreness and pain determine my choices. She designed a programme that started with very short runs (literally one minute while walking the dog) and isometric leg exercises and we have built from there. After four months, I’m able to squat with increasingly heavier weights and now run for 20 minutes, without inflaming the tendons, which means I am on track to complete my first 5km run in five years within the next month.
All of this has not only helped with my physical goals: the mental health impacts of being able both to tackle increasing weights and not only start running again but gradually extend the time and distance each week have been really significant. I had begun to think this was all in the past and beyond me in the present. To be making this kind of progress with Kate's support has had a measurable effect on my wellbeing. I’m so grateful.
July 2019 Mr M Moriarty, 2019
With an estimated 28 million people in the UK living with chronic pain, Lindfield resident Kate Nunn shares her story in a bid to give others hope. By Ayesha Gilani
On a cold September night in 2004 Kate and her husband Nick were huddled close on a platform at Harpenden train station when two drunk people bulldozed over and split them up. “It was terrifying,” said Kate. “One moment we were quietly waiting for our train, the next we were being subjected to an unprovoked assault.”
The attackers launched at Nick and when he resisted they pushed him to the ground. Kate said: “My gut instinct was to get them off him, and as I tried to do this one of the attackers pushed me and I fell backwards onto the train track.” Momentarily stunned, Kate lay flat out on her back. “I was suddenly lying on the track looking at the stars and adrenaline kicked in,” she said. “I knew it wouldn’t be long before our train pulled in and I jumped back on the platform. It’s amazing what adrenaline can do.”
The shock of Kate’s fall made the attackers run off, and help arrived quickly thanks to a passer-by who called an ambulance. Kate said: “We never saw the attackers again. I was badly bruised but otherwise both of us got off quite lightly. Bruises clear up but I was left with neck and lower back pain and stiffness.”
From that night on Kate’s relationship with her body changed. She went from living carefree to living cautiously in a bid to pacify the persistent pain that had begun to shadow her body, mind and spirit. It was to be this way for the next 12 years.
Kate said: “The reassurance of knowing that there was nothing broken or fractured helped me. After the acute stage of the injury had settled I went on to experience frequent bouts of lower back pain.” Kate sought help via her GP and tried all sorts of interventions from pain killers to moving less to moving more but nothing proved useful long term. “Lots of things aggravated my back,” she said. “Sitting or standing for too long, lifting and bathing my children, carrying shopping bags. Exercise didn’t seem to change anything either. It was all very unpredictable but I just used to live with it. I became a person with chronic pain. I saw many practitioners and even had a scan that showed nothing abnormal. Sometimes I’d get symptom relief but the pain would always come back.” It was an experience that would not only alter her view of pain but her career path too.
Before the attack Kate was living in London and working for the Natural History Museum, writing and editing natural history content for their website and interactive exhibits. She said: “While I found the job interesting, I grew to hate the sedentary lifestyle of sitting in front of a computer screen every day and started thinking about what life would’ve been like if I had followed my childhood dream to be an equine physiotherapist.”
Kate grew up in the village of Ashley in Northamptonshire. Her eyes light up and her faint East Midlands lilt intensifies as she recounts the happy times spent riding her neighbour’s horses. “I grew up with the countryside on my door step and was passionate about horses. The thought of working with them therapeutically really inspired me.
However, when I was 18, I decided to do a broader degree in Biology at Leeds University. I thought I was too young to really know what I wanted and thought it best.” After the attack, and with persistent pain as a regular companion, Kate embarked on osteopathy for symptom relief. She said: “A friend recommended I see an osteopath so I decided to give it a go.
Osteopathy alone wasn’t the magic cure but it helped. It gave me a lot of relief when I was hit by painful flare ups. I used it like paracetamol and kept exercising for symptom relief. I was so impressed by the treatment that I decided to take the plunge and train to be an osteopath.”
In 2011 Kate and Nick moved to Lindfield with sons Kai, then aged 4, and Finn aged one. She said: “We absolutely fell in love with the village. It had the right balance of bustling high street and open countryside. I could really imagine us here and felt it was a place where I could be an osteopath.” The couple welcomed a third son, Raff, in 2013.
Unfortunately Kate’s back pain did not diminish. Flare ups would be easily triggered and symptoms would hang around for a long time. “The pain was nagging and constant,” she said. “I was very frustrated. It got to the point where I believed the pain had won. It had control over me - limiting my options.”
Kate decided to take a few years off work and the osteopathy degree to focus on her three boys. When she returned to her studies at the University College of Osteopathy, she came across a new six week course entitled OsteoMAP (Osteopathy, Mindfulness and Acceptance-based Programme). It was a study funded by the UK Department of Health and aimed at those living with long term, persistent pain. “They were looking for participants and I met the criteria,” she said. The study integrated osteopathy with mindfulness to help people adapt to pain based on awareness of their own body and movements.
Kate said: “Rather than focusing on my back and my pain I was taught to think about pain in a completely different way. We talked through negative beliefs about my back and most importantly about my values and where I was at this time in life and what I felt was missing. It was a completely different approach and one I was very sceptical about. So much so, that after the 6 weeks were over, I thought it hadn’t really helped.”
However, weeks later, Kate came to the realisation that her pain had gone. “It was a defining moment for me,” she said. “It was June 2016. Nick and I were chatting in the kitchen when he asked me how my back was and I had to think long and hard about when I had my last flare up. I hadn’t had one since the programme. I was astonished.”
Kate qualified as an osteopath in July 2018 and treats patients at The Perrymount Clinic in Haywards Heath. Away from work, she is currently pounding the village pavements in preparation for the Hackney Half Marathon on the 19th May. She’s running to raise funds for Core Clapton – a charity she volunteers for one day a week that aims to make osteopathy accessible to all. Kate said: “Funds raised will help to run a project of up to 6 free treatments for the carers who live in Hackney. These people are in a lot of pain so we are caring for the carers.”
It’s been three years since Kate completed the programme and she remains pain free. “Living with chronic pain for 12 years was not easy, and I want to use my experience to move forward positively and help others,” she said. “It has defined the way I practise as an osteopath - allowing me to empathise and work with my patients in a way I might not have done if I hadn’t been through it. I hope sharing my story will help those living with chronic pain to see some hope for the future.”
Take Kate's chronic pain quiz by clicking this link to see if her course will suit you: https://christian402.typeform.com/to/FEfz0r